These past few months, I’ve really been tested.
Here’s the backstory: I had a routine service and MOT for my car at a legitimate garage. It passed the checks, but I got it back with several new problems. I asked the garage to take responsibility for the damages and fix them without charge but, as expected, they pushed back, claiming that these issues were all ‘coincidental’.
Long story short, the idea of possibly having to pay for these new problems, having back and forth disagreements with the garage and simply having these car issues looming over my head, sort of cast a dark cloud over my general mood.
I speak a lot about stoic philosophies and how we can navigate the trials and tribulations of life, but it’s not always that I speak whilst being in the midst of one.
In times like this, how you think you’ll act or say you’ll act takes a backseat. It’s how you actually act that takes the stage. And looking back at how I’ve acted these last couple of months has been quite interesting.
For example, I’ve noticed that if I can pay for a problem to go away, and I’d still comfortably survive without that money, I’ll probably just do that. I’m more than willing to put aside my ego if it means I can get rid of a headache. The times are gone when I would refuse to pay for something that wasn’t my fault, just out of stubbornness. Now, I’d happily save my time, energy and peace of mind just by paying off the problem. But conversely, it’s an easy way out. It means that I’m not being tested with problems that actually require me to step up and face them.
With this car issue, I had to face it. I couldn’t comfortably afford to pay off the problem, so I’m still fighting back.
And I don’t usually talk about my problems whilst I’m going through them. I’ve found that I like to keep them to myself in order to feel some sense of control. Speaking them aloud sometimes makes the problem feel bigger than it needs to be.
But what I remind myself is this: most of our day-to-days go untested, but there are some days when you face a trial or two. These are the important ones, teaching us whether we’ve been preparing correctly or whether we need to go back to the drawing board.
We can’t claim to be at peace if we’ve never experienced something which disturbs it.
Nor can we claim to know resilience, if we have the ability to simply pay off every problem.
I’m still going through my ‘test’, but very soon I’ll have a final score to learn from. Maybe, it might just send me back to the drawing board.